TOP GUN: MAVERICK - Singer Kenny Loggins On Why Tom Cruise Chose To Use The Original Danger Zone (Exclusive)

This week, fans of Top Gun: Maverick were met with the movie's digital release. To promote the flick coming to the small screen, we spoke with singer Kenny Loggins in depth about the song Danger Zone.

Interviews Opinion

Although Top Gun: Maverick hit theaters back in May, the film is still soaring on the big screen and racking up records. Sitting at just under $700 million dollars domestically, the film has passed Avengers: Infinity War to become the sixth highest highest-grossing movie in history.

While the sequel may still be playing in theaters, fans are finally able to watch from their own homes, as Top Gun: Maverick was officially released on digital this week.

To support the digital release of the movie, we spoke with a number of members of the cast and crew, and were lucky enough to talk to the Danger Zone singer Kenny Loggins. He told us a number of things about the song, his involvement with his film, and even talked about his new memoirs.

The audio interview with Kenny Loggins is below, followed by the transcript, which has been edited for clarity. 

Kenny Loggins: I met the director when I was playing the Hollywood Bowl with Mike McDonald a few years back now. And he asked me for a boy-girl remake of Playing With The Boys and perhaps a remake of Danger Zone, but they weren't sure where they stood on that yet. And then Tom decided to go with the original Danger Zone from thirty years ago because he wanted to conjure up the vibe from the first movie. But yeah, I was in from the get-go. It's a no-brainer.

Because we used the original version of Danger Zone, I just stuck with what we had. I had planned on and had actually started a re-record where I wanted the sounds to be bigger so they would be appropriate for that 5.1 remix of theater sound where it's all around you. So I had a mix where the drums would come in from behind, and the chorus would spread out with six guitars. And Tom said, no, I just want the original. I want that vibe. The one thing I noticed when I saw it in the theater the first time is the fidelity of Top Gun; because it's a 30-year-old mix, it's not the same level of fidelity as the rest of the music in the movie, but it's really close. And it was a really strong mix that especially jumped out back then, and it still holds up really well, so I was really pleased with that.


I had become involved with Top Gun: Maverick two years before, and we had already started work on that, so I wrote my memoirs during the interim. And because Tom withheld the movie for a couple of years, the timing of the book and the movie came out at the same time. So it was auspicious timing for me to release some memoirs. I talked about the fact that I considered the first Top Gun and Danger Zone marriage to be incredibly lucky timing. I was in the studio recording Playing With The Boys when I got the call from Georgio's office to consider doing Danger Zone.

As the urban legend would have it, there were a few acts ahead of me in line, but they were either passed on. Or, like Mickey Thomas of The Starship passed on the song because he didn't hear it. And then I heard there was another issue where the lawyers mucked it up with another act. But I think I wasn't really on the top of the list because I was already recording a song for the movie, and I imagined they wanted a different artist for each song. But they came around to, who can sing a rock song and have the high notes to follow up on it? And I had definitely proven that, so I think they just went with, 'let's call Kenny because that's a safe call."


I wasn't really in the studio for this one because, like I said, we used the original version of Danger Zone. But when I did the original version, I brought in my Tina Turner record. I had Private Dancer on my turntable a lot. And I really loved how she was approaching rock and roll from her R&B roots. And so I wanted to bring that into my approach, so I played that for Georgio, and then I went into character so that I could emulate her somewhat. I especially found that the easiest place was on that line (sings Danger Zone), that very nasal edgy thing that she got. So I did the white skinny boy version of Tina Turner.

What do you guys think of Kenny Loggins's comments? Have you watched Top Gun: Maverick yet?

Be sure to watch the full video interview below. And, as always, share your thoughts in the comments section!

That's right, Kenny Loggins is on the show! During the press run for Top Gun: Maverick, Kenny sat down with me to talk about Danger Zone and the process of making it for the first film. We also talked about how he almost remade the song for Maverick, but Tom Cruise chose to stick with the original version. With Loggins' memoirs having just been released, we also touch on that quite a bit. Enjoy, and check out Top Gun: Maverick!

Top Gun: Maverick is now available in theaters and available on digital.

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